Baruch Spinoza
1632 - 1677
Dutch Philosopher
Baruch Spinoza, philosopher and theologian, was born in Amster-dam. His deep interest in optics, the new astronomy, and Cartesian philosophy made him unpopular, and he was expelled from the Jewish community in 1656. In 1673 he refused the professorship of philosophy at Heidelberg, in order to keep his independence.

Spinoza ranks as a major thinker in the rationalist tradition, and his major works 'Tractatus theologico-politicus' (1670) and 'Ethics' (1677) are classics of Western philosophy.

Spinoza held that man's happiness consists in coming to understand the truth that he is a tiny part of an all-inclusive pantheistic God.
(Pantheism = belief that God and the entire universe are one and the same thing).

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From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy